• Friday, May 24, 2024
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Bank customers route for e-channel platforms over risky road to banking halls

Desperate Nigerians looking for new naira queue up at ATMs

Instead of going to a bank’s physical branch or office, customers are now adopting digital self-service solutions.

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Bank customers chose to use more of e-channel platforms in frantic efforts to avoid crowded banking halls because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This is as part of efforts to ensure social distancing which will help curtail its spread.

Research suggests that while viruses survive on most surfaces for around 48 hours, paper money can transport a live flu virus for up to 17 days.

The world is witnessing an unprecedented health situation and global uncertainty due to the current outbreak of Coronavirus.

“The health and welfare of our customers and staff are of great importance to us. We have, therefore, taken important safety precautions, in line with guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other relevant health authorities”, said Adam Nuru, Managing Director, First City Monument Bank Limited.

While the Coronavirus pandemic is rightly causing a lot of anxiety globally including Nigeria, many banks marshalled out safety precautions.

For instance, First City Monument Bank deployed Security Guards at the entrances of all its premises to check temperatures using hand-held scanners. It has automatic sanitizer dispensers located close to the entrances of all our locations and has ordered hourly cleaning of teller counters, Customer Service Officers’ tables and bulk counting counters at all its bank branches with disinfectants.

This also applies at all customer service locations of its non-bank subsidiaries, where applicable. Its other safety precautions include hourly cleaning of lifts and lift buttons with disinfectants at all multi-storey buildings of all FCMB Group subsidiaries; and encouraging its customers to adopt electronic transaction channels.

Fidelity Bank Plc said, “Our industry has been drastically impacted by the coronavirus outbreak worldwide and as a result, we have implemented precautionary measures to help safeguard the well-being of our staff, customers and communities we serve. It is important that you are able to access funds to run your business or pay bills even in these times. Currently, our branch locations are open and fully staffed to assist with all your banking needs.”

Fidelity Bank asked customers to take advantage of its “robust online banking solutions available for your ease, convenience and as a further precautionary measure.”

“We encourage you to make use of our electronic channels available 24/7 for quick, secure and remote access banking services at your convenience. If you are not currently signed up for Fidelity Online Banking, click here to get started,” said Fidelity Bank in a note to its customers.

Kennedy Uzoka, GMD, UBA Plc said in a message to the staff and customers that, “It has become clear over the past couple of weeks that the world is facing an unprecedented challenge. Like you, we at UBA, are deeply concerned and want to do all we can to help keep our countries and our families safe and healthy.”

“What we are doing: We have introduced rigorous additional cleaning procedures, and are increasing the number of wipes, hand sanitisers, and other materials available in our banking halls and throughout our business offices. We have ensured that customers have access to the products and services they want at all times. We are also making it easier to find UBA products and services quickly and in real-time, 24/7,” he stated.

According to Uzoka, UBA has taken steps to help protect its staff from possible exposure to Coronvirus by reducing the number of face – to – face meetings that the bank organises. “With the use of technology, this has been made simple and even more effective. We will continue to monitor the situation in order to constantly adapt to your needs should things change. We recognise that this is a challenging period globally and we remain deeply committed to the safety of our customers, staff and communities in which we operate. You are at our heart as an institution and we look forward to continuing to serve you to the best of our abilities,” he stated.

Also, Ecobank has urged its customers to “Bank from anywhere” by utilising digital solutions to easily access their bank accounts, make payments, transfer funds, process salaries, and carry out other ancillary banking transactions from the comfort of their homes and offices without visiting branches.

Ecobank advised that its branches remain open and available to customers who choose to visit to carry out their transactions. The Bank emphasized that its branches are equipped with all prescribed preventative measures.

Additionally, the bank noted that as part of its self-service options customers can create virtual cards for eCommerce and other online transactions on the Ecobank Mobile when required. It noted that Ecobank also provides online and digital product assistance through its Chatbot, Rafiki on Ecobank Online or Mobile, and through 24/7 Contact Centres across the group.

The bank reiterated that “standard measures have been put in place at the branches across the group to help curtail the spread. These include provision of temperature checks at all entry points to screen employees, customers and visitors; installation of hand sanitizers; equipping customer-facing staff with emergency response plan; encouraging social distancing especially from anyone who is coughing or sneezing; educating branch staff on international best practices recommended by the Federal Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) and actively updating customers and employees on the Coronavirus.

The message signed by the Group Chief Executive Officer, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), Ade Ayeyemi reads: “This is an unusual, extraordinary and difficult period in time. At Ecobank we do understand that COVID-19 is impacting a number of people and causing others serious concern and anxiety. We will continue to stay abreast of the situation in order to adapt to changing developments for the good health and well-being of all our customers, employees and communities. Together let’s keep well and safe, following the instructions given to us by the world health experts for our better health”.